Genestealer Cult Codex Review Part 1

My kill team!

I’m writing this post around two week after Genestealer cult (GSC) codex release. I’m still digesting a codex that I waited for more than a year! There’s a lot of interesting stuff in the book and I’m kinda hyped for the codex, so I think I’m going to spam blog posts about the GSC for some time ^^" , so for this one I’ll just do a general recap with some of my highlights about the army and then I’ll do detailed blog about all the aspects of the army; trying to update everything when the FAQ came out. I’m a GSC player, so allow me to refer to the army as “we": myself, you (if you believe in the true emperor) and my fellow mutants!

My patriarch, I really like how it turned out!

BORING RESTRICTIONS: The book have some really “fascinating" choices, that transpire the aim of Game Workshop (GW) to changing everything while keeping everything the same. Obviously a special mention goes to the big offender, GENESTEALER (Patriarch and Purestrains), Vehicles (Goliath , Ridgerunner and Rockgrinder) and Imperial Guard stuff (Sentinels, Leman Russes, ecc.) DO NOT benefit from the army-wide passive skill, called Gene-sects. This doesn’t mean that those passives are bad, but I just find frustrating that they do not apply to all the army from a design perspective, 8th edition is designed toward simplicity and all this units kept out of the Gene-sects it’s simply … boring. But, the Gene-sects are actually some of the strongest in the game, all of them allow for particular playstiles and it’s up to the player to decide what direction to take.

AMBUSH: The Ambush was completely reworked, going for a half army in blips, half underground in deep strike at 9", they streamlined the army with the rest of the game, this means that GSC have a more reliable, but turn 2 ambush. The stratagems that allow 3 blips to go underground allow the GSC to field even two thirds of the army underground, pick the 3 most expensive units of the army, put them as blips to them have them go underground, 8 units in deep strike and 2 on the field seems legit! I would like GW to change the sudden death rules to be at the end of every round, because with all these units in deep strike, if the enemy gets first turn, we may lose even before the ambush happens. It’s nice to have this additional freedom, considering even that the ambush shenanigans are not over!

TELEPATHIC SUMMON (!!!): I’ve already read so many bad words to probably one of the most defining stratagem in the GSC army: Telepathic Summons. Yes, you have to pay reinforcement points to summon the units, but … yes, they can arrive first turn AND … YES!!! They can use A Perfect Ambush. 5 command points and a lost psychic power is a big lost, but I would spend even more to lock my opponent in combat with 20 acolytes on the first turn. But this is not even all. In a tournament, we can pick one of the many elite choice available depending on the match. So if the enemy has a lot of vulnerable characters, for 60 points (and 5 CP) we can summon a Kelermorph and shoot twice with it. If we face psychers let’s use a Sanctum with the sniper, use the acolytes to lock ranged enemies or the neophytes to catch a point. There are no doubts I’m going to use this stratagem in my games, I’m just trying to sort out how many points should be kept in reserve. These units have the keyword, but nothing more (relics, special detachments, ecc.) :/ . It’s worth noting that one of the top 8 at the Las Vegas Open was a demon list with 600 more point of reinforcement, adapting to the opponent seems to be a good strategy in practice, let’s see what GSC can do.

Some of the stuff I'm building at the moment

ACOLYTES AT 7 POINTS?: Acolytes are 7 points and hand flamer went down from 8 to 1 (loool) this is incredibly strong, I would even go as far as saying that is meta defining. As soon as people can get such armies (100 acolytes?) together they will be everywhere in tournaments. They can overwhelm nearly everything in the game. The problem for the GSC is that with such a strong troupe choice both methamorps and purestrains had lost their meaning, reason why GENESTEALERS should get the cult benefit, to be competitive against acolytes. Playing multiple smaller units (8 to 10 models) is a viable option too, more acolytes will die by overwatch, but overall it’s possible to engage the enemy in multiple fronts and is still possible to replenish units with the +d6 model stratagem

PSYCHIC GOODIES: As the Tyranids do, GSC brings some powerful psychic powers to the table, both mind control and mental onslaught can turn into a victory by themselves, mass confusion and the horror allow for a -2 to hit, psychic stimulus allow for a turn one with a kraken genestealer rush + 10 jackals moving 20" and assaulting + 20 acolytes being summoned you can lay down a victory even on the first turn.

TYRANIDS AND GUARDS: There are with things to say about the guard detachment, it’s useless. It’s just nerfed guard with half CP. Pure Brood Brothers from the GSC codex are still viable, they are cheap, brings body to the field and they can still ambush, but it’s really hard to find value for them (it’s possible to hide a lascannon under 20 bodies, nice?). The Tyranids on the other side are perfectly complementary to the GSC, bringing to the table everything that GSC may need, starting from the psychic powers, any good GSC army involve some tyranids.

TURN ONE: probably the biggest problem for the army is managing the first turn of the game, with half (or even more) of the army underground, we are forced to fight understrength for at least 1 turn, horribly enough, if we get second turn the situation is particular critical as the opponent will have 2 turn to fight just a portion of our army. The beta rules for deep strike hit this army really hard. Not all hope is lost, by building the army properly it’s possible to negate this disadvantage. The first possibility is to play an army with as few units as possible (10 or 12), and with the stratagem that let’s the player put 3 unit underground is possible to remain on the field with just 2 to 4 units, probably character that we can easily hide for a couple of turns. Leaving the opponent the first turn, the game turn into a hide and seek for the first 3 turns, allowing the opponent to farm a limited amount of victory points, but allowing the gsc to start the game on the third or fourth turn of the game, with a complete initiative. Hide some units like 3 reaper swarm, 5 genestealer or an explorer sentinel and keep all the characters (sanctus with sniper, magus (two?), nexos, neurotrope) behind them, it’s a cheap way to use the CHARACTER rule, but you may even end up doing more damage that your opponent! A more “classic" way to start is to deny some of the opponent firepower by picking the right units: or we go full infantry or full Resistance 5 or more, neutralizing all the anti infantry firepower of the opponent. Currently I’m planning to start with only tyranids monsters and GSC vehicles, with leviathan all the models have a 6++ feel no pain.

Genestealer cults is an army that surely require a lot of practice, I better GIT GUD soon!